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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

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THE PONTOON BBIBGE.                                            139
In the streets are many broken Buddhist pillars and other sculptures. The
road was constructed in the collectorate of Mr. Best, and in the progress of the
work a column was found bearing an inscription ia some ancient character; to
reduce the size of the stone, the inscribed face was ruthlessly cut a-way, and it
was then converted into a buttress for a bridge. As it approaches the river, the
road opens out into a fine square^ with gracefal arcades of carved stone.
These are the property of the Maharaja of Bharat-pur and G-osain Pnmsnottam
Lai, and, though ordinarily they have rather a deserted appearance, on the
ocasion of any great local festival they let for as much as BsŤ 2 to 3 each a
day. On the other side of the square opposite the road is a pontoon bridge?
which was opened for traffic in 1870. The tolls were farmed for the large sum
of Rs. 40,500 a year: whence it is obvious that any reasonable outlay incurred
in its construction would soon have been repaid, But, uoforturiatelyj everything
was sacrificed to a false economy ; it was made so narrow that it could not
allow of two carts passing, and so weak that it could not bear even a single cart
if heavily laden. Thus It was no sooner opened than it broke down ; and
repairs were in constant progress, till the night of the 13th of Angustj 1871,
when it was completely swept away by a heavy flood. It was immediately re-
constructed ; but it is impossible that it should ever present a satisfactory ap-
pearance, while at the same time its cost has been excessive. It may be hoped
that it will, before many years are over, be superseded by a masonry bridge in
connection with the railway, which at present pays for its use a fixed annual
sum of Bs. 4,044: its original value having been put at Bs. 1,15,56&.
The city stretches for about a mile and-a-half along the right bank of
the Jamuna, and from the opposite side has a very striking and picturesque
appearance, which is owing not a little to the broken character of the ground on
which it is built. Were it not for this peculiarity of site? the almost total
absence of towers and spires would be felt as a great drawback,, for all the
large modern temples have tto sikha-ras^ as are usually seen in similar edifices,
but are simple cloistered quadrangles of uniform height. The only exceptions
are the lofty minarets of the Jama Masjid on the one side, and the campanile of
the English Church seen through the trees m. the distance below.
Looking up the stream, the most prominent object is the old Fort, or ratter
its massive sub-stracturej for that is all that now remains, called by the people
Kans-ki-kila. Whatever its legendary aatiquity, it was rebuilt in historical
times by Baja Man Sinh of Jaypur, the chief of the Hindu princes at Akbar's
Court. At a later period it was the occasional residence of M4n Sinh's still more
famous successor on the throne of Ambery the great astronomer Sawii Jay